SAIPAN (MARIANAS VARIETY) — More than 7,000 doses of Covid-19 vaccines are expected to arrive at the end of the week, Commonwealth Healthcare Corp Chief Executive Officer Esther Muna said.
Muna said Pfizer has started shipping the vaccines.
She said they expect to receive a total of 7,400 doses, which will cover 3,700 individuals. The Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine needs a second dose.
Vaccinations will be administered in phases.
For the first phase, CHCC and the Governor’s Covid-19 Task Force plan to vaccinate all 1,600 healthcare workers and first responders, she added.
“We have more than enough and we will also include vulnerable individuals,” she added.
During the governor’s press briefing on KKMP, Friday, Muna said the federal government’s Operation Warp Speed sent a package of mock/pretend items to determine how slow or how fast the items will get to the islands.
“We have been practicing to prepare for the real ones,” Muna said, adding that Covid-19 vaccine doses “are not what you normally order from Amazon — they are sensitive. Timing and logistics must be in place to get them from one point to another.”
Task force chairman Warren Villagomez said, “We are practicing the implementation of all the measures required upon arrival of the actual vaccine — there are checklists that we have to follow through.”
As for vaccine storage, Villagomez said they already have a plan in place for Saipan, Tinian and Rota. “We have a backup generator at the site where the freezers are as well as data loggers and monitoring alarms that link off-site devices.”
The freezer for the vaccine is at Kanoa Resort, he added.
In his weekly e-newsletter, U.S. Congressman Gregorio Kilili Camacho noted that CHCC has been working diligently on Rota, Tinian, and Saipan to receive and store the vaccine, which must be kept at ultralow temperatures, and to track distribution, because two shots are required over a three-week period for the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine to be fully effective.
Two weeks ago, 10 ultracold freezers from South Korea arrived on Saipan. These freezers, according to Governor’s Authorized Representative Patrick Guerrero, should be able to store hundreds of vaccine doses, which require an ultracold temperature of -75°C.
“At a briefing on Thursday,” Kilili said, “CHCC asked me to take this new medicine to demonstrate to the public trust in its safety. I agreed, as long as everyone in the first-priority group is taken care of. It will be very important that no one in our community hang back from vaccination, if we want to return our lives and economy to normal in 2021.”
Governor Ralph DLG Torres, during a virtual meeting said he is willing to take the vaccine….. PACNEWS

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